It’s been decades since I’ve seen my father. I’m old now, and who knows whether he’s passed on. I moved away from our small, stifling town nearly forty years ago and haven’t turned back since.
But I do have all of these cords that he gave me for college.
I can’t remember much of Dad. Sometimes I even feel like I’m starting to forget his face. But every time I slowly creak open the oak trunk and pick a cord to attempt to untangle, a memory flashes before me.
This orange extension cord. I think one time Dad tried to teach me to play poker. I also remember being at a packed Target on move-in day freshman year and Dad angrily throwing this into the shopping cart, insisting that I’d need it.
The white ethernet cord. One weekend in fifth grade Dad took me fishing. With my older brother Brad, I think. I had to carry the tackle box. I got mud in my sneakers. When I was leaving for college Dad wouldn’t listen when I told him that the campus had wifi.
The power strip. Family game night, 1999. Dad and I played on a team in Monopoly against Mom and Brad. Also this took up too much room in my luggage but Dad demanded I bring it just in case there was a “short”. Then he went “for a drive”.
Nothing but a wooden trunk full of memories, slowly fading as the passage of time beats on. And logistical houseware frustrations. It’s mostly full of that.